Travel Adventures

I came back to my room at the Porto Alegre Sheraton late last night only to discover that none of my belongings were in it. I called the front desk to find out what was going on. Apparently I had two adjacent reservations and I was supposed to move to a deluxe room.

“That’s nice, but where’s my stuff?”
“Housekeeping thought you had used express checkout and had just left all your things. They put it in lost and found. We’ll send a bellman up to take you to your new room.”
“Okaaay…” believing he was going to bring my belongings back.

The bellman eventually arrives at my room with a key and a cart. What he thought he was going to put on his cart was unclear since I didn’t have anything. He takes me to my new room on a lower floor and yes, it’s bigger, has a bigger bed and bigger windows. Certainly an upgrade though I didn’t have a problem with the room I was in.

“Now, where’s my stuff?”
“Sorry, don’t speak English.”

I walk down to the front desk and ask “Where’s my stuff?”
A very pleasant receptionist responds with “We’ll have someone bring it up to you.”

She taps a bit on her computer, gets a puzzled look, looks up and smiles then flags down someone from housekeeping who happens to be walking by. They have an extended conversation in Portuguese and after awhile she comes back and says, “She’ll bring your things to you.”

I go back to my new room and wait. After ten or so minutes the woman from housekeeping knocks on my door and hands me a bag. I looks like it could be my stuff. I dump the bag out on my bed and begin taking an inventory. It’s my stuff and everything is there except the laundry that I had sent in, what was now, yesterday morning.

I go back to the front desk and ask, “Where’s my laundry?”
“It’s either here or at the laundry service. I’ll find out and give you a call in 10 minutes.”
I go back to my room. Ten minutes later I get a call.

“It’s not here. We’ll check with the laundry service in the morning and give you a call by 10am.”

I order a Jameson from room service, the bar had been closed for quite awhile by this time, and eventually go to bed.

I wake up at 10am and immediately call the front desk.

“Where’s my laundry?”
“Two shirts and a pair of pants, correct?”
“We’ll have them brought up in five minutes.”

Five minutes later, all’s well that ends well.

To be fair, this was a comedy of errors. I have no idea why Travel broke my reservation in two. Likely some availability issue or something. It would have been nice if this had been brought to my attention since it was an unusual event. Somehow it didn’t register when I’d looked at my itinerary. When I checked in I’m certain, as is their habit, they asked if I was checking out on Friday. “Yes, I am.”, but after 28 hours of travel I failed to clarify which Friday they were talking about. A truly great hotel might have caught me as I walked in and said, “We’ve upgraded your room and moved all of your belongings. Here’s your new room key. Sleep well.” The Sheraton, while generally a reasonably good hotel, doesn’t quite measure up to those standards. Then, of course, I could just learn Portuguese. This would have enabled me to be frustrated and concerned in another language, but I’m not sure it would have actually helped anything.

Life goes on. It’s a sunny day in a beautiful city filled with generally very pleasant and friendly people. It could have been worse.

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